“We’ve been looking for a place to have our Discovery Bible Study. I’m so excited! The pastor has said we can use the church! It solves our childcare problem too. We can use the nursery area for the kids.” She sounded so happy. Inside, I cringed. “Oh no! That doesn’t sound like the best option. How do I help her avoid making this strategic mistake?” Gently, I began asking questions. Eventually, she began to see. It’s probably better not to have Discovery groups meet within the church building. Not if her goal is to start a Disciple Making Movement.
“How do I get started with DMMs? I’m finding it difficult to find a Person of Peace. I can’t even find someone ready to have a spiritual conversation!” my trainee said. The frustration in her voice was notable. A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of meeting an Asian movement leader who has seen incredible fruit. Their movement is now well over 20,000 believers. He shared an excellent entry strategy. As my trainee asked this question, his example came to mind.
To find a Person of Peace, or several at one time, you have to cast your net wide. You can’t “fish” with a pole…you need a big net. The Asian movement leader’s example demonstrated how he did this.
This week I’m privileged to introduce you to a fellow trainer and coach. In this short video, he addresses the question of how DMMs grow, strictly from a New Testament perspective. In Disciple Making Movements, everything we do and train others to do needs to be built on the foundation of what we see in the life of Jesus.
I hope you will watch this video and gain insights into what we can learn about movements from Jesus himself. He writes further about it in the text that follows.
It was 2011. Having done church planting work since 1997, and planted one church in an unreached area, I received training about a new approach. It was called Church Planting Movements, or Disciple Making Movements (DMM).
Stories are powerful and each person’s story unique. I love to listen to the testimonies of the “ordinary” people I coach and train. It’s amazing how God has been at work in each individual’s life bringing them to the place they are today.
A few days ago as I sat and listened to a movement leader’s story. I was once again touched by the power of God to use ordinary people to do extraordinary things.
He was not outwardly impressive. His English was decent, but not fantastic. The ways God has used him to multiply disciples…that was pretty great though!
I see a problem. It’s disturbing my sleep. I wake up praying about it. Know what it is? It’s when Christian leaders don’t release their people to do the work of the ministry.
This issue bothers me because it can block the growth of Disciple Making Movements (DMMs). That must not happen! Leaders, we can not behave this way if we want to see God’s Kingdom spread rapidly through our regions.
It’s not easy to release people. I know. Huge issues arise in our hearts and heads.
Are they ready? Mature enough? What if they fail? What if they succeed (maybe even surpassing me)?
“My teenagers need a youth group!” they said, as they told us they were no longer going to join the regular disciple makers meeting. It was disappointing to hear. Concerned parents want to see their children’s spiritual needs met. This can be a real issue. Parents express apprehension about whether their children will get what they need in a DBS or story group. How do we best disciple the children of families in our teams and disciple making groups?
This issue requires us to speak into the parent’s lives in a unique way. It can be difficult. It also creates an opportunity to help those we are training to return to a more biblical style of parenting. One where disciple making happens within families.
“I must be doing something wrong,” she thought. They had been working for almost ten years in a restricted access nation. They’d pressed through to learn the language, worked hard to build relationships and led a few people to the Lord. Talking with a key church planting movement mentor she asked, “What are we doing wrong? I thought by now we would have seen hundreds of groups/churches begin!”
The mentor carefully listened to them describe their disciple making activity. Then he said, “You aren’t doing anything wrong. Movements take time.” This mentor had coached well-known movement leaders. They had started thousands and thousands of churches, pioneering the largest movements in history to date. He knew what he was talking about.
In recent weeks I’ve had numerous conversations with people. The topic of tracking has surfaced more than once. Is it biblical?
Tracking numbers and setting goals can feel like it isn’t relational. While the feeling is real, it doesn’t need to be true. We can be both relational and also track fruitfulness. Led by the Holy Spirit and deeply dependent on Him, we can set goals and evaluate progress while still valuing each individual involved.
Admittedly, some people swing one way or the other. Many leaders don’t hold this tension well. We tend to err on one side or the other. Sometimes we say we don’t care about results at all- “God knows my heart and how much I want to see people saved! That is enough.” It sounds spiritual, but is it?
“What is the primary reason the Great Commission task is not yet finished?” I asked this question to a group of students this week. Many different answers surfaced. None of them matched my own. I believe the main reason we haven’t yet made disciples of all nations is related to the priesthood of all believers. In elevating professional pastors, we have somehow overshadowed a powerful truth. Jesus died to make everyone a priest of God. There are no more high and low castes. Everyone who follows Jesus is fully empowered to do the work of the Kingdom. Disciple-making Movements embrace this.
Thousands of new churches rapidly starting…a Jesus movement sweeping through…bringing transformation! Our hearts are stirred. We want to be a part. “It would be so amazing if that could happen in my area,” we think.
After a few months (or years) of effort, things may not be happening quite as you expected. You’ve prayed, fasted, shared the gospel often, but not yet seen breakthrough.
Maybe a few have believed, some groups started (and maybe not lasted). Where is that rapid, incredible experience you thought was coming? In these times, we must examine our motivation for pursuing a DMM in the first place.